Who Is Liable If I Slip and Fall at the Shopping Mall?

In the busy atmosphere of shopping malls, accidents happen, and slip and falls are the most common causes of mall injuries. There are many ways and places a fall can happen in a mall. If the negligence of the property owner, tenant store, or maintenance company caused your fall, they may be liable. Discuss your case with our New York City personal injury lawyers to find out who may be liable in your situation.

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How slips and falls occur in shopping malls

The environment of the typical shopping mall seems to invite fall accidents. Even before entering, customers may encounter uneven pavement or snow and ice on the sidewalks and in the parking lots. Once inside, there may be slick, polished floors that are even more slippery when patrons track water in from outside.

Navigating inside, customers may venture through a food court where spilled drinks and fallen food may litter the walkways. Elevators and rugs pose tripping hazards, especially when they are not well-maintained. Boxes, cords, and other objects left in store aisles sometimes cause shoppers to fall. There are countless potential hazards in these busy settings.

Negligence: the basis of liability for a slip and fall

If you are injured on someone else’s property because of their fault, the law recognizes your right to compensation. However, you need to prove that the other party was to blame.

To hold a defendant – whether it is an individual or a business – responsible, there must be evidence of negligence. This means showing that the defendant carelessly or recklessly breached a duty that caused an accident that resulted in an injury. When it comes to a mall slip and falls, your personal injury lawyer will look for and gather evidence to prove:

  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have known of an unsafe situation
  • The defendant failed to fix the hazard or warn the public about it
  • The plaintiff’s injury was a result of the defendant’s failure

Evidence might include testimony showing that a spill sat uncleaned for a long time, records indicating that the mall received reports of an elevator malfunction, or photos establishing that a wet floor sign was not placed in an area visible to passers-by. Gathering as much evidence as possible at the time of the fall will make proving your case easier down the road.

The defendant may deflect negligence by claiming that the plaintiff caused his or her injury by not being careful or by knowingly accepting the risk. Your New York City personal injury attorney will be on the lookout for these arguments and be prepared to address them.

Understanding the potential defendants in a shopping mall

Liability in a retail shopping complex is not always clear-cut. The duty to keep the premises safe for customers and others permitted to be on the property may fall on the shoulders of mall owners, retailer tenants, maintenance contractors, or others.

Any of these parties who fail to fulfill their duty may be liable to the injured party if their failure was reasonably a cause of the fall. For example, if your fall occurred:

  • In a common area – the owner of the mall may be liable
  • In a store – the store or the mall owner may be liable
  • On an escalator – a maintenance company might be at fault along with either the property owner or store, depending on where the escalator was located

In any case, there will need to be evidence that the defendant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition but did not fix it or provide a warning. You will also need evidence substantiating your injury and tying your financial losses to your fall.

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Speak with a lawyer for individualized advice

Understanding general principles is only the first step after suffering a personal injury. For the most accurate assessment of your rights and responsibilities, discuss your case with the New York City slip and fall lawyers at Douglas & London.

Our team is committed to helping injury victims throughout New York City, whether that means offering basic advice in our office or taking a case to court against a big corporation. Call today to schedule a free consultation. We never charge a fee unless we win compensation on your behalf.